A traditional stop for Florida Powerboat Club poker runs in the Florida Keys, Gilbert’s Tiki Bar and Resort in Key Largo won’t be hosting a portion of the Key West Poker Run fleet’s lunch stops in early November. While the popular venue reopened a few days ago after extensive cleanup and repair in the wake of Hurricane Irma, its docks are not up to the task of handling an 80- to 100-boat raft-up, according to FPC president Stu Jones.
“I got a call from Gilbert’s last Friday, and the docks have been deemed unsafe for a large raft-up,” said Jones. “You can dock there now without an issue, but not with a group that large. So we’re going to Marathon, which is what I originally planned after Hurricane Irma—I was surprised when Gilbert’s called me to tell me they would try to ready for us. We’re going to use the Hyatt Faro Blanco Resort and a couple of other venues.”
Jones said that 120 boats currently are registered for the run, and that approximately 20 more slots are available. All of the hotels that the FPC contracts with have reopened, he added, and the Poker Run Village venue has been secured and will be ready to go.
Jones said that the docks of Gilbert’s Tiki Bar venue (above) are not up to the task of handling a large raft-up of high-performance catamarans and V-bottoms. Photo courtesy/copyright Yvonne Aleman/Speedonthewater.com.
“Key West has been the least of our challenges with this run,” he said. “I know it will be visually disturbing for people who come down to see all the damage and piles of rubble. The destruction will be apparent to all. But that’s the state of affairs in the Keys right now, and people need to come and support the Keys. Key West lives off the hospitality industry. Through our being there and bringing in tourist dollars, we want to play a part in the recovery.”